With the 2023 Formula 1 season now in full swing, the sporting world is left with a burning question: Can anyone dethrone the dominant Red Bull as they begin a second dynasty in F1?
According to the top online bookmakers, it’s a toss-up between Max and Checo, with Bet365 offering odds for Alonso to become F1 champion at 50/1.
With Max Verstappen effortlessly securing his second consecutive world championship and the team’s stranglehold on the sport seemingly unbreakable, it’s time to examine the contenders who could potentially challenge the Red Bull reign. In this comprehensive analysis, we’ll cover everything from the resurgence of Ferrari to the potential shakeup of the Formula 1 landscape with Ford’s return as an engine supplier.
Since joining Red Bull, Max Verstappen has become a force in Formula 1
His raw talent, coupled with the formidable Red Bull machine, has turned the young Dutchman into a seemingly unstoppable force. With two consecutive world championships under his belt, many are left wondering if Verstappen can be stopped or if Red Bull’s winning form is here to stay for years to come.
Verstappen’s dominance in the 2022 season was so complete that he secured the world championship with four races to spare, becoming only the fourth driver in F1 history to achieve such a feat. One of the key factors in Verstappen’s rise to the top has been his ruthless competitiveness on the track. Never one to shy away from a challenge, the Dutchman’s aggressive driving style has seen him go toe-to-toe with seasoned veterans like Lewis Hamilton, ultimately coming out on top in many of their battles.
While Verstappen’s dominance has been a major talking point this season, it’s worth noting that his teammate, Sergio “Checo” Perez, has been the only driver consistently challenging him on the track. With a wealth of experience and a never-say-die attitude, the Mexican driver has proven to be a worthy adversary for Verstappen, keeping Max’s side of the garage on their toes.
Despite his continued efforts to push against Verstappen and secure some wins for himself, Perez’s willingness to play the team game has also been an important factor in Red Bull’s success. As the team’s second driver, he’s been instrumental in helping Red Bull secure valuable constructor’s points, contributing to their continued dominance in the sport.
Ferrari: Season of change for the most popular team in F1 with a new boss
The off-season provided Ferrari with plenty of upheavals, what with the removal of Mattia Binotto as team principal and the focus on building a car that was as fast as the one they had in the 2022 campaign, without the poor reliability. Frederic Vasseur from Alfa Romeo joined as team principal and the mission to propel Ferrari back to glory was on and end the team’s 15-year championship drought, unfortunately, they seem to be moving in the wrong direction.
Reliability seems to be an issue for Ferrari again in the 2023 season, with Charles Leclerc retiring from the opening race of the season in Bahrain as a result of an issue with his CEU and both Lerclerc and his team-mate Carlos Sainz being fitted with entirely new power units for the Saudi Arabian GP.
On top of reliability issues, the SF-23 also isn’t that quick and is hard to drive
Compared to the F1-75 of the previous year, which was far more competitive in terms of speed. Leclerc has only managed to out-do Alonso in the Aston Martin once so far this season and that was in Baku, with the Spanish former champion fighting for the podium and missing out due to Leclerc’s skill and an admittedly good use of their tyre strategy.
The elephant in the room for Ferrari is Aston Martin emerging as a competitor for second place in the constructor’s championship, which means one less spot for Ferrari in the top three.
Vasseur may be able to iron out the strategic errors that were made under Binotto, but he can’t hide from an unreliable car that hasn’t the pace to match the front runners. Until this critical issue is sorted, it doesn’t seem that the Tifosi will have much to celebrate anytime soon.
Mercedes: Lost their way in F1 after years of ‘serial’ winning
From 2014 to 2021, Mercedes enjoyed back-to-back constructors championships. With 7 time World Champion Lewis Hamilton in the driving seat, there seemed to be no stopping Toto Wolff and his team. That all came to a head in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when Max Verstappen clinched the title, in a controversial finish.
Since then, Mercedes have somewhat lost their flair. The primary issue for Mercedes this season has been their car’s performance, mainly the fact that it is undeniably slow compared to Red Bull and Aston Martin. Given that Mercedes’ drivers are still pushing and Lewis did manage to secure second place in Australia, it’s become clear that improvements to the car, rather than their drivers’ abilities, will be the key to reclaiming their place at the top of the sport.
Mercedes’ glimmer of hope, however, is George Russell. As one of Formula 1’s most promising young talents, George Russell is a name to watch in the coming years. With a move to the Mercedes team, Russell has a prime opportunity to showcase his skills and potentially challenge the Red Bull juggernaut.
If Mercedes can provide him with a competitive car, Russell could be the next young star to challenge Verstappen’s reign.
Aston Martin: Surprise package of the 2023 F1 season
Aston Marin’s AMR23 is insanely fast, there’s no denying it. The three consecutive podium finishes claimed by veteran driver Fernando Alonso have been nothing short of remarkable in a dream start to Aston Martin’s 2023 campaign.
While their winter turnaround has been amazing and the car they have put out this year is highly competitive, To stand a chance against the dominant forces of Red Bull, Aston Martin must strive for consistent improvement.
Enhancing the technical aspects of their car and harnessing the full potential of their drivers will be pivotal and Aston Martin’s partnership with Honda as an engine supplier as of 2026 could prove to be the thing that pushes them ahead.
Either way, the team’s engineers and strategists are undoubtedly working tirelessly behind the scenes, exploring innovative approaches and fine-tuning every detail to close the gap with their rivals.
While Red Bull continues to dominate in world of F1, the sport’s ever-changing landscape means nothing is guaranteed. With talented drivers like Charles Leclerc and George Russell hungry for glory, the resurgence of teams like Ferrari and Mercedes depends on getting everything right, with the car being first and foremost.
As the fans, teams, and drivers continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in Formula 1, it’s impossible to predict what the coming seasons will bring. But one thing is certain: the battle for supremacy will be fierce, and the Red Bull dynasty will face challengers from every corner of the sport.